October 10, 2016 by Zoë
Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson follows Mari, a young ballet dancer in New York City in 1977, and Kate, a professor of dance and the woman Mari will become. The narrative moves back and forth through time as Mari joins the School of American Ballet and as Kate works to come to terms with her past.
This book included a remarkably good passage about the difference between ballet dancers and modern dancers, particularly the sort of modern dancer whose first real forays into the dance world occur in dance departments at colleges across the country. Sari Wilson knows what she’s talking about when she writes about dance.
She also has a lyrical way to her prose that, while it sounds like a lot of literary fiction I’ve read over the years (including during workshops at Oberlin), still is quite pleasurable to read. Her descriptions of dance are really nice and some of the images she conjures (such as that of a dancer in flames) are lovely and striking.
Unfortunately, this book plays on the well-used trope of an older man getting involved in a creepy relationship with a young ballet dancer. I want something new! There are so many other things you can do with a ballet setting. Why do we have to rehash this?
Pretty nice writing, but a plot that was at times predictable and at times unbelievable. This is very far into the realm of literary fiction and is probably good if you’re into that. I am into that, but I also like some other things in my reading that I didn’t really find here.
“I remember she’s a refugee from the world of ballet, that cult of beauty and perfection that I disappeared into for years of my life too.”